Emptying the Notebook
The Santino Quaranta story last Saturday checked in at around 2,700 words. Nonetheless, there was plenty of great material that did not make the cut:
On whether he was looking for sympathy: "I don't need a pat on the back. I don't need anyone to say, 'Good job for not being a drug addict anymore.' That's not what I need."
On Ben Olsen telling their mutual agent about what Olsen suspected was a growing drug problem: "I got mad at him. He told Dan [Segal]. Benny has known people who have gone through this and he understands how bad addiction is. There was resentment because resentment was important for me. I could resent Benny, so it was good."
On access to alcohol during United road trip: "You are 16, you come onto a professional team, people like you, you know? It's a natural. It's a locker room, you're an athlete. That's a way to be accepted and liked. I found a way to get beer or whatever. I didn't have an ID, I was a kid. Did the players give beer to me? No. I figured out a way to get it because I was good at that."
On finding drugs in Baltimore: "I didn't have to look far. I didn't have to go into 'The Wire' area. That's not what it was. I didn't want people to know I was running around like that, but it wasn't hard to figure it out in the end. I grew up there, so I had access to whatever I wanted."
On the addiction: "It was bad. I couldn't open my eyes in the morning. Emotionally I was a mess. Physically I was so addicted to it. The minute you wake up in the morning, and you've got your wife and your daughter laying there, the first thing you think of, before you even take a shower, do I have pills? How many do I have? Am I going away this weekend? Do I have enough? I have to go to practice, it's a long day, if I don't have them, I am going to feel awful later. How can I find more? Do I have enough money? I was a wreck."
On being hooked indefinitely: "My mind-set was, like when I hurt my foot in New York last year, maybe now this will be a career-ending injury and this is the way I can live my life. I truly believed that was where drugs and alcohol were taking me. ... That was my golden ticket. They told me I wasn't going to play. My mind-set was, this is so bad, it's going to hurt me my whole life anyway, I'll take all my money and live like that forever."
On blowing an opportunity to make the 2006 World Cup team: "I brought as many pills as I could to that [January 2006] camp. Maybe 80 or 100 of 'em, they ran out quick. I didn't go out looking for them. It wasn't crazy yet. I was supposed to be on the World Cup team. And to think that is where this brought me. That hurts the most. I try to forget about it. Things were going good. Bruce gave me a great opportunity and I failed miserably. I was still justifying it. 'Hey, I got married in November, I'm out of shape because of that.' I went on my honeymoon. And people were like, 'You were on a honeymoon for seven days, you're out of shape because of that?' I couldn't understand why they were doing it. They were like, 'Your talent is there, everything is there, but you're not fit.' It was always, the talent, the talent, the talent. The talent didn't mean anything to me anymore. 'You were so talented,' everyone always told me that. Since I was 3 or 4 years old, 'You are so talented.' "
On pursuing soccer again after rehab: "I cheated myself, I cheated a lot of people. It was always pleasing someone else. I was always worried about what people thought of me. That's how I have grown as a person. There are going to be people who doubt me. You doubt yourself. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I always loved this. I was talking to [5-year-old daughter] Olivia on the phone from California in January and she said, 'Dad, you remember when you played for D.C. United? That was my favorite team.' It hit me hard. I promised I would play again. I just wanted one more chance."
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